The year 2009 saw continued progress at the railway. The main development was the opening of catering facilities at Rudyard station. Whilst the railway has done ad hoc catering for the last few years this is a significant step forward. The old traditional ice cream bike was only used at the start of 2009. With the addition in August of a covered picnic area on the old railway platform the scope of public facilities was much improved. Reasonable toilet facilities were also provided by the railway for its customers for the first time and at significant cost.
All the 5 steam locomotives were in use during the year. Merlin had a significant repair to its boiler during July which meant removing it and attending to some leaking stays. It was back in use within two weeks. This is a considerable achievement as trains were running every day at the same time.
The weather was also kind at the key times with fine days at the bank holiday weekends. This meant that the railway achieved by far its best ever results with traffic up almost 30%. the challenge is to continue this trend. The railway now runs trains on more days of the year than almost any Midlands heritage railway apart from the Severn valley railway More days of operation have been added to the timetable in June, July & September.
The main news in December and January was the very cold weather and snow. Despite this and frozen water supplies we have managed to run all the planned trains. Improvements to Rudyard station are in hand ready for the new season.